Migrant and displaced children, many of whom live in cities and urban areas, are at heightened risk to the immediate and secondary impacts of COVID-19. They often live in cramped conditions with limited access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Many of them face vulnerable situations or are “left behind”, facing immigration detention, living with disabilities, unaccompanied or separated from their families, and can be hardest to reach with accurate information in a language they understand.
Migrant workers and refugees can live in the most disadvantaged urban areas, where access to local basic services is already limited. Migrant and displaced children may also be prevented from accessing essential services due to legal, linguistic or safety barriers. Further, the misinformation on the spread of COVID-19 exacerbates the xenophobia and discrimination that migrant and displaced children and their families already face.
Cities and local governments are at the forefront of addressing the economic, health, and social impact of COVID-19, particularly considering the urgent need for continued public service provision and expansion – and many have been swift, bold and adaptive to protect their most vulnerable residents, including migrant and displaced children and youth. With cascading border closures, travel restrictions, and policy and local finance changes, many local governments are working to ensure an inclusive COVID-19 response that upholds the rights of every child and pays special attention to the situation of girls.
This deep dive session will bring together mayors and youth representatives to discuss about what local and regional governments can do – and are doing – to put all migrant and displaced children and their families at the forefront of preparedness, response and recovery to COVID-19.
This session, convened by UCLG, Metropolis and UN-Habitat in partnership with UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities initiative, will be part of the Cities are Listening initiative to support local and regional governments to move from sharing challenges and good practices, to concrete strategic action to recover from COVID-19 – and to build on the solutions that local and regional governments are already implementing to ensure health, safety, and protection for all, and in particular for those most vulnerable.